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Applications of Carbon Dioxide in Food and Processing Industries
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Carbon dioxide is one of the most important chemical compounds of human, animal, and plant lives, and environmental health. Because of several desirable characteristics of carbon dioxide in gas, solid, liquid, and supercritical states such as inertness, non-explosiveness, non-corrosiveness, high volatility, cooling ability, and low-cost, carbon dioxide is being used in a variety of applications in food and processing industries. Applications of carbon dioxide in preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, food grains, and liquid foods; inactivating microorganisms; and extracting oils, flavors, colors, and chemicals are discussed. Carbon dioxide as high pressure gas and supercritical fluid would find a niche in food and processing industries in the future especially in applications involving non-thermal sterilization and supercritical extraction.

CO2 gas has not only been used to preserve and process the food products but it has also been

used as an indicator for detecting quality changes in food materials during processing and

storage. Carbon dioxide in solid, liquid, gas, or supercritical state is used in many commercial

applications. A major use of CO2 is for the manufacture of carbonated beverages. The CO2 is

used for refrigerating ice cream and meats. A high CO2 gas atmosphere is used for packaging

fruits, vegetables and muscle foods, and for the control of insects in stored grains. Quick frozen

food industries use CO2 for cryogenic freezing of foods, for cryogenic grinding of spices, and for

frozen-food transportation. Currently, CO2 is used for the supercritical extraction of oils, colors,

flavors, and other selective food components.

In addition to continuing the current commercial use of gas, solid and liquid CO2, commercial

applications involving high pressure CO2 and supercritical CO2 can be exploited. As a whole,

CO2 is used to increase the quality, value, and shelf-life of fruits, vegetables, food grains, and

muscle foods. Because of numerous applications, use of CO2 in food and processing industries

will help not only to enhance the food supply in domestic markets but also to improve export

earnings.

Due to environmental and occupational concerns of using large amounts of toxic organic solvents, liquid/supercritical CO2 would serve as an alternate, ideal solvent for the future.

According to Palmer and Ting (1995), commercial developments in the future might be expected to continue in the area of food flavors, as well as in the extraction and refining of ”natural” food ingredients, functional foods, alternative medicines, and specialty oils using supercritical CO2. Also, supercritical CO2 applications could be extended to processes such as chemical and enzymatic reactions, re- crystallizations, supercritical fluid chromatography, and extrusion technology.

Carbon dioxide in solid, liquid, gas, or supercritical state is used in many commercial applications. A major use of CO2 is for the manufacture of carbonated beverages. The CO2 is used for refrigerating ice cream and meats. A high CO2 gas atmosphere is used for packaging fruits, vegetables and muscle foods, and for the control of insects in stored grains. Quick frozen food industries use CO2 for cryogenic freezing of foods, for cryogenic grinding of spices, and for frozen-food transportation. Currently, CO2 is used for the supercritical extraction of oils, colors, flavors, and other selective food components.

In addition to continuing the current commercial use of gas, solid and liquid CO2, commercial applications involving high pressure CO2 and supercritical CO2 can be exploited. As a whole, CO2 is used to increase the quality, value, and shelf-life of fruits, vegetables, food grains, and muscle foods. Because of numerous applications, use of CO2 in food and processing industries will help not only to enhance the food supply in domestic markets but also to improve export earnings.


Short Answer

Because of several desirable characteristics of carbon dioxide in gas, solid, liquid, and supercritical states such as inertness, non-explosiveness, non-corrosiveness, high volatility, cooling ability, and low-cost, carbon dioxide is being used in a variety of applications in food and processing industries. Applications of carbon dioxide in the food industry include: preserving fruits, vegetables, meats, food grains, and liquid foods; inactivating microorganisms; and extracting oils, flavors, colors, and chemicals. Please refer to this scientific article about the safety of Co2 and the multitude of uses in the agricultural and food industries.